1. ITV Report

Varun Chopra: Essex need to keep 'raising the bar'

Essex's Varun Chopra taking the catch which secured victory at Warwickshire in September and the County Championship title Photo: PA

Essex opening batsman Varun Chopra says there will be seven 'hungry teams' wanting to topple the Specsavers County Champions when they start their title defence next April.

Chopra has experience of playing with champion county Warwickshire in 2012 but said the following season was tough.

He also highlighted the fate of both Lancashire and Middlesex in recent years in following County Championship success with a relegation campaign, but hopes Essex can reverse the trend after their first title in 25 years.

Essex open next season at Yorkshire - head coach Anthony McGrath's former county - before starting their home campaign against Lancashire.

That next year is tough, it is tough. So it will be up to the senior players to keep everyone's feet on the ground, and it's a fresh season.

We need to start again. There will be eight hungry teams in that Division One trying to win the league, trying not to get demoted. The competition is going to be as tough as it was this year.

It will be up to us to make sure we keep raising the bar and that starts from now, this winter, and putting the hard work in.

– Varun Chopra, Essex CCC